A recent New York Times story reports that Wal-mart Canada has filed a complaint in Quebec Superior Court, seeking an injunction against a union website’s use of Wal-mart’s trade-marks.
Wal-mart has apparently claimed that the use of its name, colour schemes, and variations of its logo and slogans by the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada’s website Walmart Workers Canada is trade-mark and copyright infringement. The union has posted on the website a purported extract from Wal-mart’s complaint, listing the relief Wal-mart has requested under the injunction.
The union is claiming that Wal-mart is trying to censor its rights to free expression.
Past jurisprudence in Canada (here and here) regarding unions and alleged trademark infringement has often turned on whether the use of a company’s marks by a union on a website constitutes “use” as defined in the Trade-marks Act (Canada).